A brilliant rendering of a scandalous historical figure, Kate Manning's My Notorious Life is an ambitious, thrilling novel introducing Axie Muldoon, a fiery heroine for the ages.
In vivid prose, Axie recounts how she is forcibly separated from her mother and siblings, apprenticed to a doctor, and how she and her husband parlay the sale of a few bottles of "Lunar Tablets for Female Complaint" into a thriving midwifery business. Flouting convention and defying the law in the name of women's reproductive rights, Axie rises from grim tenement rooms to the splendor of a mansion on Fifth Avenue, amassing wealth while learning over and over never to trust a man who says "trust me."
When her services attract outraged headlines, Axie finds herself on a collision course with a crusading official - Anthony Comstock, founder of the Society for the Suppression of Vice. It will take all of Axie's cunning and power to outwit him in the fight to preserve her freedom and everything she holds dear.
Inspired by the true history of an infamous female physician who was once called "the Wickedest Woman in New York," My Notorious Life is a mystery, a family saga, a love story, and an exquisitely detailed portrait of nineteenth-century America. Axie Muldoon's inimitable voice brings the past alive, and her story haunts and enlightens the present.
©2013 Kate Manning (P)2013 Simon & Schuster
I loved the topic of the book. At times I thought I would turn if off, and stop listening, but it was so intriguing that after a few minutes I would turn it right back on. I also liked the characters, the time period depiction, and the historical undertones.
Maybe some of Diana Gabaldon's books, similarly there were many parts in her series addressing women's lives in different times of the past, childbirth, daily struggles, stuff like that.
I have never listened to Terry Donnelly before, but she is awesome! She did a good job with the period's English (as much as I can tell), and the various characters' voices. I loved the way she did Axie's friend, Greta's voice, who is a German immigrant. I would listen to more audiobooks narrated by Terry Donnelly.
I highly recommend this book. At times I couldn't believe how little has changed in the leading topic of the book, namely women's rights regarding abortion. It was riveting and also scary. The main character was great, I really liked her, and ultimately the end of the story was good. I was grateful for this, because from the beginning the story just had this black cloud over it. You'll know what I mean when you listen to it! I think this book would be a terrific choice for a book club.
I wouldn't listen to this again, because I couldn't stand the reader. Which is annoying, because the story was excellent.
The descriptions of the lives of women of the time, especially lower class women, were excellent. And the medical care they received was stomach turning.
The story already has a melodramatic feel, and she takes it about three steps too far. Her voice becomes grating, and getting through the story took effort.
I wouldn't read another book by Kate Manning as I just hated this one. Terry Donnelly's voice was good for this book's story but I'm not sure I'd like to listen to it again.
not sure. something more uplifting
It was perfect for the character who "was down and out."
Anger, sadness, fury, disgust
While I knew a bit about the subject matter of this book, it wasn't a book I picked out to read as it was a book club book. The subject matter is difficult, hard to listen to, and downright horrible. I will invest more time and attention before I order another book.
I love to walk and run listening to audiobooks
Yes, I would recommend this audiobook for the talent of the narrator. She effects accents and emotions skilfully.
This was a random pick, the details of which I do not recall. However, how coincidental that I chose to read this book so recently after finishing the Orphan Train! This is another fictional account of an orphan train girl who, though not initially an orphan, becomes one eventually. Fortunately, her mother dies in the house of a midwife, and she asked the kind woman to take care of her daughter. The interesting twist about this book (and, I assume, the hook that got me to get it) was that this is based on the journals of a woman who lived in the mid 1800s and practiced midwifery. She was notorious because she also practiced contraception and abortion. The similarities between this book and The Orphan Train were clear: orphans on the orphan train forged close, life-long bonds due to their precarious plights. In both, orphans reunite and marry. In this one, though, the orphan train is a mere detail in a colorful, passionate life well-lived. I recommend this as a fairly enthralling beach read.
I had a hard time getting into this audiobook because of the narrator. Her shrill voice irritated me throughout however it was a captivating story and I eagerly listened to the end.
The story of this courageous women is compelling and all consuming. The narration adds to the story and helps paint a picture of what life was like for this Irish immigrate turn notorious abortionist.
I had a hard time getting into the hard copy of the book at the beginning. So I decided to buy the audio book. I'm really happy I did. The story is fantastic. The reading of it was superb. I want to read more by the author hear more by the reader. Great!!
I found "My Notorious Life" very enjoyable and thought provoking. Although I have always been aware of the way women have been treated in history, I believe this amazing piece of historical fiction should be read or listened to by both men & women. As I listened to it during my daily commute to work, I often sat either at my work parking spot or my home driveway waiting for a chapter to finish. I'm definitely going to explore Kate Manning's other novels.
Terry Donnelly's narration is a jewel in itself. Her interpretations of the characters as well as life in the late 1800's and early 1900's are a treasure to behold!
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